European, American observers commend Sudan's referendum

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - Major international observers of South Sudan's referendum on Monday said they believed
the outcome of the vote would reflect the genuine expression of the will of southerners, despite minor irregularities.

The two major observer missions, the European Union Elections Observation Mission-Southern Sudan referendum and the
Carter Centre, with over 200 observers deployed in and outside the Sudan, said they were satisfied with the outcome of the
process and described it as credible and almost up to par with international standards.

Both the Carter Centre and the EU observers said they believed the turnout for the referendum was overwhelming, and that it
exceeds the 60 percent needed to make the process legal.

"It is clear that the southern Sudanese voters participated in the referendum in an overwhelming manner, well in excess of the 60
per cent required to validate the referendum," European Union Chief Observer Veronique de Keyser told a press conference
to mark the launch of a preliminary report on the process.

She said holding the referendum on time was a remarkable achievement and a major milestone in the implementation of the Comprehensive
Peace Agreement (CPA), to which the European union is also a witness.

De Keyser said although final turnout figures would only be released by the southern Sudan referendum commission at the conclusion of
the results processing phase, "it is clear that the southern Sudanese voters participated in the referendum in an overwhelming manner,
well in excess of the 60 percent required to validate the referendum.''

She said the EU mission found the process to be "efficient and well organized, with polling official well trained'', and that voter registration
was carried out effectively and according to procedures.

The European mission sent 110 observers and experts who submitted 1,261 reports and effected some 800 visits to referendum centres
in south and northern Sudan.

In a related development, the Carter Centre, which sent over 100 observers, said it was satisfied with the outcome of the process so far.

Vice president of the Carter Centre, Justice Joseph Warioba, said the southern Sudan referendum went in line with international norms and that
the turnout was well over the 60 percent threshold need to make the process legal.

Warioba told a separate press conference that the referendum was carried out in a peaceful and orderly manner, adding that it was broadly consistent
with international standards.

"While several critical stages of the process remain to be completed before the final results will be announced, the carter centre finds that the
referendum process to date is broadly consistent with international standards for the democratic elections and represents the genuine expression of the will
of the electorate," he said.

But both the Carter Centre and the EU said there were small irregularities which, however, did not affect he overall outcome of the referendum.

They both cited what they called "assisted votes" and security presence in and outside the polling stations as part of the shortcomings.

The referendum on self determination of southern Sudan was mandated by the CPA which was signed 9 Jan. 2005, by the government of Sudan and the
Sudan People Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/SPLM), ending 22 years of civil war in the Sudan.

The outcome of the referendum, to be announced on 7 February, will decide whether the southerners will remain as part of the Sudan or create their
own independent state.
-0- PANA MO/SEG 17Jan2011

17 janvier 2011 15:09:34

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